Imagine yourself traveling to another country and being invited into a local resident's home to enjoy a traditional holiday meal with their family and friends. University of Oregon international students have that opportunitiy as part of the Friendship Foundation for International Students' Share Thanksgiving program. The program matches students with local families willing to open their homes and their hearts to young adults far from home. For most, it's the first time for them to eat turkey and many of the side dishes.
Students get to see firsthand how American's celebrate Thanksgiving. They participate in family games, watch or play football, study the Black Friday ads, and experience how Americans live.
The day becomes another treasured memory for them to remember and share with their friends and family back home. Over the years we've hosted students from China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Nepal, Ghana, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand, and more. The experiences have been positive for all.
Kevin Aloui, a French exchange student from Mornant, France (near Lyon) enjoyed his Share Thanksgiving experience so much that he produced a short video describing that day. His story is just one of many that can be told by the students and host families who share much more than a meal together.
Since 1950, the Friendship Foundation (FFIS) has been fulfilling its mission to build trust and foster goodwill between the local community and University of Oregon international students, alumni, scholars and their families. You can learn more about FFIS and its programs and activities by reading their newsletters.
Rick Obst is an Arizona native who moved to Eugene, Oregon in 2005 and fell in love with the verdant Pacific Northwest. He enjoys photography and discovering the many people, places, and events that make this part of the world so special.
To learn more about Eugene, Lane County, and western Oregon, visit 365 and More Things to do in Lane County, Oregon on Facebook. You'll see hundreds of pictures and links to discover the beauty and attractions of this special area.